Monday, June 4, 2018

Review - Enrage (Eagle Elite #8)

Enrage (Eagle Elite #8)

By: Rachel Van Dyken

Published: July 30, 2017

379 pages

Genre: New Adult, Romance

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

The next book in the international bestselling Eagle Elite Series. Complete Stand Alone.

Part of a world I loathe.
Part of a family who hates me more than I hate myself.
Living with a girl who reminds me of my darkness.
I'm. In. Hell.
Also known as the Cosa Nostra.
I wish I would have known--that my life was over the minute I stepped off the plane.
Son to a murdered mob boss.
Heir to a throne of murder and lies.
My name is Dante Nicolasi.
And there will be blood.
First things first. Yes, there is a cover. However, I decided not to include it in my review because I'm trying to be cautious about overly revealing/mature covers on my blog. I haven't always been super sensitive to that, but I am now. Actually it's my least favorite cover of this series anyway. It's too.....veiny. <shivers> Gag. We will leave it at that and ya'll can check it out on Goodreads or Amazon for yourself.

Second things second. (Is that even a thing to say? Well it is now.) I have LOVED this series! Ever since book one, I keep coming back for more because I love these characters and I love this mafia world and I love the love stories! LOVE them!

For those new to the series, let me give a a list of the previous books and then a list of the main cast of characters, the original boys from Eagle Elite:

Elite (rated 5 stars)
Elect (rated 4.5 stars)
Entice (rated 4.5 stars)
Elicit (4.5 stars)
Ember (4 stars)
Elude (5 stars)
Empire (4 stars)

Main characters:

Nixon Abandonato
Chase Abandonato
Tex Campisi
Phoenix De Lange
Sergio Abandonato

There are others too, but for the sake of not ruining any of the storylines and plots for new-comers, I'm just listing these few.

While this book didn't quite touch my emotional feels level, and even when I should have been upset I didn't feel an emotional connection to what was going on, it was a super fast read and added some new controversy to the story-line of some of my favorite characters!

My one irritation with this book, and perhaps the others had the same issue but it's not a super big deal that I remember it for long, is the grammar errors! There were a ton of words misspelled and though I am no grammar expert, this is a Kindle version that's for sale! One that I bought! So I would think the editor would've caught and corrected that many mistakes. Actually thinking back to other books by this author, I do believe this is a common frustration I've mentioned in my other reviews. Like I said though, I don't remember the irritation for long and it doesn't take away from my enjoyment overall of the series.

The ending was a little too anticlimactic for my taste and I didn't connect emotionally to it. Though I am curious to see what's next after such a big ending.

I have read these in order as a book series. However, Goodreads lists some of the later books as stand-a-lones, including this one. I personally think one would miss out on way too many good details and backstory to just jump to reading this installment before reading the first few books. Just my two-cents though.

Top Favorite Quotes:
"Fear is not your friend. It is your enemy."

Sometimes you can't fix what's been broken. Especially when it's not love that breaks. But trust.

"Living isn't being shut in a small safe box where nobody and nothing can hurt you - living is feeling the pain and making every second count."

"...there is no black and white in life, don't let anyone tell you any different. No straight lines. No rules. Life is life, it is up to us to decide how well we live what's been given to us."

Language: 2 (medium)
Mature Content: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge: May Wrap Up

Time for our fifth Monthly Wrap Up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the April Wrap Up, neither Sandy nor Holly have finished any series enders.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the May giveaway runs from May 25th - June 25th. On June 25th we will use and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge: April Wrap Up

Time for our fourth Monthly Wrap Up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the March Wrap Up, Sandy finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter, # 8) by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. Holly hasn't finished any series enders.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the April giveaway runs from April 25th - March 25th. On April 25th we will use and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Smallest Part - Review

The Smallest Part

By: Amy Harmon

Published: February 13, 2018

325 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” 
- Unknown 

It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie. 

“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?” 
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too. 

So Mercedes lied. 
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down. 

This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.
Let me start by saying that I've really enjoyed the previous Harmon books that I've read. So I had good expectations for this story. I wouldn't say I had high expectations, but definitely vibes that I would enjoy it as much as the others I've read. Well....although I enjoyed parts of the storyline, this is not among my favorites by her.

I loved the storyline of the childhood friends. Mercedes and Noah lived in the same apartment complex and from ayoung age they had been friends. Two peas in a pod. One day a new girl moves in, Cora. Being the lonely new kid, Mercedes announced that they would become her friend. They did, and from then on the three amigos were best friends through every stage of their young lives and through high school. Through traumatizing events no child should have to go through, they were always each others best and closest friends. At some point, Noah felt more for Mercedes and before leaving for boot camp he tested the waters of showing her how much more he felt for her, but he didn't think his feelings were reciprocated. And then Cora began showing a greater interest and eventually Noah felt more for her too. With Mercedes hiding her true feelings and giving in to Cora's feelings again, as she had done their whole life, she allowed a relationship to form and deepen, knowing all along she could have had the guy. But she chose to give the guy to her best friend.

Harmon's books have all included something about God and the Bible. As a Christian, I appreciate and look forward to seeing how she weaves this into her stories. She's not at all a Christian fiction writer, but I enjoy this part of truth in her stories. In this one, one of the main characters is Noah, and it's made mention of Noah and the ark and the flood.

"You know. He had a big ark and put the animals on it because the world was going to be flooded. The guy who's responsible for rainbows."

Everyone knew about Noah's ark, didn't they? She'd been raised on Noah's ark and Daniel in the lion's den and Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. She knew all the Bible stories.

If you haven't read The Law of Moses yet (which by the way was a 4.5 star read for me!) then I would recommend reading that first because there's a cross over from that story that you'll miss the uniqueness of if you haven't yet read it.

Okay, so now to what I didn't care for:

The story goes back and forth between events in the past and those chapters are marked by years: 1985 through 2004. It's flashbacks of their childhood, which do help to better understand the dynamic between the three of them as well important events which shaped who they become as adults. Then there's current events. But there's a lot of bouncing back and forth. So much so that I was having to highlight each year so I didn't miss where in time we were.

Cora, ooh man, I despised her character! I viewed her as selfish and self-centered. Even as children she was constantly trying to one-up Mercedes, to have what she had, to do what she did, and to take what Mercedes wanted. Her character was quite despicable!

The ending wrapped up too neatly and too quickly. I'm all for happily-ever-after's but something just felt a little too neat and I felt some things weren't fully fleshed out.

There were some twists I wasn't expecting. I always appreciate that in a story. It's not at all that I didn't enjoy it, because I did. It just won't fall in my list of favorites by Harmon.

Top 5 (plus a bonus!) Favorite Quotes:
...he realized joy was possible amid terrible pain.

"In the end, only three things matter," Abuela said. "Who He is." She pointed at the sky. "Who you are, and who your friends are."

"Our friends shape the course of our lives. You have to choose them very carefully. But if you know who He is, then He will help you know who you are. And if you know who you are, you will know who your true friends are. One thing leads to another, you see."

...just because something is meant to be, doesn't mean it's meant to be right now.

"Words are like souls. Soundless, even shapeless. But full of substance. You are getting all substance and none of the distraction in a letter."

"I need you to love me enough to tell me the truth, even when it's ugly."

Language: 1.5 (light - medium)
Mature Content: 1.5 (light - medium)
Final Rating: 3.5  stars

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge: March Wrap Up

Time for our third Monthly Wrap Up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the February Wrap Up, neither Sandy nor Holly finished any series enders.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the March giveaway runs from March 25th - April 25th. On April 25th we will use and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Torch Against the Night - Review

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2; Ember Quartet #2)

By: Sabaa Tahir

Published: August 30, 2016 by Razorbill

456 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

This is the updated book cover. When I first purchased the kindle version of this story, the new covers hadn't yet been made. I like them a lot better. I love when book covers, especially fantasy book covers, tell a story all on their own with characters who are easily recognizable.

It appears that I read and reviewed An Ember in the Ashes in June of 2015. That was a long time ago! You would think that after nearly 3 years, this series would have fallen off my radar, but not so! I purchased book two at least a year ago, if not more, and had every intention of reading it quickly. But as time goes on and reading genre preferences change, I found myself looking at this one and passing it over for something else. So here I was, the beginning of 2018, and the story of Laia and Elias was continually on my mind, so I knew it was time to pick up book two. Sometimes you have to go with your gut on these kinds of things. Otherwise, if you're like me, and you pick up another book in a series just for the sake of continuing on with it, but you really aren't in the mood for it? It can be disastrous for both your overall enjoyment of the story and thus your review.

I'm sure some details were fuzzy for me going in to book two, simply because so much time has passed since I read book one. However, the characters and their situation was still fresh on my mind still. A Torch Against the Night picks up right where I remembered An Ember in the Ashes ending. Laia escaping the city with Elias as her guide to rescue her brother.

"He is Elias Veturius, heir to one of the Empire's finest families. He is a former Mask - an elite soldier of the Martial Empire. And he is my ally - the only person who can help me save my brother, Darin, from a notorius Martial prison." 

I'm going to be extremely vague and non-descriptive about the details of this story. When it comes to most fantasy stories, to give more away in the later books in the series, is to give away a great deal of the plot. Suffice it to say that they can't escape as easily as they would like. They have an entire army set on finding and stopping them, all because the new emperor has given an order to his new Blood Shrike to kill Elias. The problem with that, is that they used to be close friends.

There is a bit of a love triangle in this story that bugged the stew out of me! It felt all wrong to me and it felt forced. There's a quote that comes out of nowhere about this "unspoken love" and I remember thinking to myself "I guess I missed this emotional buildup between them". It was a head scratcher for me! And when the revelation comes surronding it, it made more sense why I was never on board with this triangle.

I can't say I'm stoked about the ending of this one. There's a bit of a cliffhanger, but not a jaw dropping one. Knowing there's more to come, and that most likely means more twists and surprises, I'm hopeful enough to see some things I'd like to happen. I've got fingers crossed for it anyway!

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
"Family is worth dying for, killing for. Fighting for them is all that keeps us going when everything else is gone."

"As long as there is life there is hope."

"You are my temple," I murmur as I kneel beside her. "You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release."

Laia and Elias are each other's countermelodies.

"Failure doesn't define you. It's what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air."

Language: 1 (light)
Mature Content: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge: February Wrap Up

Time for our second Monthly Wrap Up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the January Wrap Up, Sandy finished The Last Star (The 5th Wave, # 3) by Rick Yancey. Holly hasn't finished any.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the February giveaway runs from February 25th - March 25th. On March 25th we will use and the linky entries to pull a winner.

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